Are groceries eating up too much of your monthly budget?
Canadians spend an average of around $200 a month per person on food bought in stores, according to Global News’ analysis of Statistics Canada data. Of course, that number varies across the country. Albertans, for example, spend an average of nearly $240 per person for one month worth of food. Shoppers in Nova Scotia spend the least, at about $186.
Costs tend to go up in big cities — Torontonians need to budget at least $254 per person for food — and depending on household size: Families can buy in bulk, and being single is usually more expensive.
And then, of course, there’s the simple fact that everyone’s gotta eat: Lower income households inevitably spend a larger share of their earnings on food.
Still, a rough rule of thumb is that groceries should take up about 10 to 15 per cent of your gross income, said Scott Hannah, president and CEO of the Credit Counselling Society, a Vancouver-based non-profit group that helps families sort out their debt. If you make $40,000 a year, you should be spending between $4,000 and $6,000 on groceries, including food as well as the kind of toiletries and drugstore items that most people pick up at the supermarket, he said.
Be aware of prices
Where you shop matters, too, said Hannah, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get all your groceries at discount stores.
Stocking up on toilet paper at Costco can save you big bucks, but what grocery story is right for you depends more on the makeup of your grocery list.
Identify the staples that always end up in your cart and locate the store that offers the best deals on the largest share of your typical shopping basket, said Hannah.
In the long run, that can result in considerable savings.
By Erica Alini National Online Journalist, Money/Consumer Global News